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Winter Shikoku tour


Speeding Up
May 29, 2008
Holidays are approaching, read: biking adventure is growing near! I've been interested in the 88 temples in Shikoku for a while but fighting the tour buses always threw me off. But no one will be traveling there over New Year's... right?

Tentatively thinking of cycling Shikoku from Dec 28-Jan5th ish. Starting in... kobe? and biking over the Onaruto bridge to Tokushima.

Mapmyride seems to think bikes can't cross the bridge. Anyone try before? Any idea where I can find out?

The plan is still in super rough thinking stage but is anyone interested in joining?
I think I'll bike all night through to the New Year's sunrise. :D
(100-200km a day, credit card touring, snow/ice free roads preferable, probably really cold.:eek: But totally a good idea!)

When I have more of a plan, I'll post it, but this is it for now.:bike::bike:
Mapmyride seems to think bikes can't cross the bridge. Anyone try before? Any idea where I can find out?

Sadly the answer is no. Nor can you walk across it. Or go by scooter, small motorbike, or minicar. The bridge's opening forced the closure of the historic Naruto ferry. So there's no way across for you and your bike except by bus or train. Typical.

--HF Mike--
Hi Kori,

While I have no further info about the Naruto ferry, don't fret about tour buses - even in high season this is at most a minor annoyance. With 1700km of distance you won't be bothered on the road to much and at that time of the year the temples will be deserted.

Have fun!
I can`t offer much information, as haven`t been here that long and haven`t ventured much beyond the vicinity of Kochi yet. As for getting to Shikoku by bike, I think the only option is via the Shimanani Sea Route route (but check first). As for traffic, unless you are on the main roads through the town centre it really is not a factor. You see pilgrims all the time, but I`ve never been cycling and thought `Wow, so many buses` as there aren`t enough to register. There was an article in the Japan Times recently about cycling around Shikoku.


While searching the link for the above article, this came up:-


The author came via ferry from Tokyo to Tokushima
Required time: 18h 20min
Fare: 10,200 yen
Charge for a bike: 2,820 yen
Official Web: Ocean Tokyu Ferry

I won`t be able to join you, as the wife wants to go to Hiroshima to see her folks over the holiday period.
If its you on your own, then I recommend a night bus, all the way to Matsuhige - thats the airport near Tokushima, very close to temple 1. They're cheap, and I was surprised how much space and how much sleep I got once the single curtain closed around us all. Make sure its the bus with 3 seats per row.

Warren is the latest ohenro san, completing the meguri last month. We were thinking of doing a normal weekend ride (possibly 18/19th) in Chichibu with a few of the 33 temples thrown in if you want to join.
I'd be fine on a bus but I'm worried about my bike as luggage. If I still had my old steely-- fine, but my Carbon bike under the bus... ??

Are you spending the whole weekend in chichibu? I'm interested but 1) I'm kinda slow compared to most ttc. 2) I'd have to cancel other plans. Thank you for the invite, regardless.
Hi Kori,

When I lived in Tokushima, there was a ferry from Wakayama to Tokushima which cost about Y1500 or Y2500 + a bike (not that expensive if I can remember well). The company operating it then was Nankai.

Shikoku is beautiful (was back then and hope it still is). If I could suggest something is the coastal road leading south from Tokushima (I think Route 11) all the way to Muroto cape. It is a beautul road with many wild beaches and many, many places to pitch your tent. It is (was) still very much unspoiled region without any resorts or touristy spots except for the temples.

Good luck
This is a good opportunity to write off one of my "to do" in Japan. I got nothing to do on these dates, though I need to file some extra VLs.
I could help out in some route planning or something.

I'm not sure about the terrain but maybe 80-150km per day is a good estimate. The early onset of darkness limits the cycling time, unless you're OK riding in the dark and/or starting out rather early in the morning.

I think this is a good indication of winter cycling in Shikoku:
(is that photo correct!?? -2degrees??? gonna be cold, real cold)

Long term forecast in JMA website shows no real concern for snowfall or precipitation.
Snowfall: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/longfcst/000_2_00.html
Precipitation: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/longfcst/000_0_00.html
I've read their blog before and it was one of the reasons that I though I would be able to do it in the winter.

So, I've never planned a tour with anyone else... well, I'm not sure 'planned' has ever really been a thing. So I'm not quite sure this works.

Here's my current thought, now that I know the Kobe/Tokushima bridge is a no go.

I really want to bike through the night in one really really long day into the New Year's sunrise. Last summer biking through the night into the sunrise was an absolutely incredible experience. Granted, this time it will be cold. cold. So I may curse this plan later but...

I think that biking along the coast toward temple 25 would be a great all night ride. It will be 3 days before new moon and pitch black... but flat. So, if I start with 'foolish plan 1' then plan backwards it means that arriving in Tokushima straight away is too early.

My current thought.
Leave Ebisu after work Monday (27th) and with Seishun JuHachiKippu get down to Toyohashi. Spend the night. Day 1 and 2 cross Kii to Wakayama
There is probably a much more interesting and slightly longer way to do it. This is just a rough first idea. Cross on the ferry on the 30th, maybe go to some temples, generally rest and relax.
31st, early start Visit Temples 19-23 (up to km 90) in the daylight and then set out for Temple 24. ...now that I look at it, the whole thing is only 167km, so not long enough for a 24hour ride:angel: and with no crazy elevation (but possibly wind)
Maybe stay at a minshuku and wake up for sunrise?
Or maybe I'll keep thinking of some other way to bike through the night.:cool:

Anyways, after that heading in land to The Chiiori Project house that was cited earlier
and staying maybe two nights? Basically arrive at night, spend one day, leave in the morning.
That would mean Jan 3rd... the famous 'lost' Iya Valley? And then... maybe back to Tokushima?
Then maybe back to Kii Penensula??
Or head south to the Seto-nai-kai long bridge that take you back to honshu?
This is less and less of a Shikoku only ride.

I'm not sure I know how to plan with other people. What do you think?
Andreas how would that sound to you with your tighter time schedule?

Generally, I want to do close to 100miles/160km a day. I kinda like to try to beat my summer long ride of 322km but it may be too cold. I'm not sure how that would work.

Thanks for the forecast info!! Super helpful. Anyways, keep the ideas coming.:D


Great plans! I am sure I don't need to say this, but just watch out riding at night. In rural Shikoku every car you will see has the orange triangle sticker for once and apart from the senior populace, everything but the main roads is deserted at night.

For your plans:
On leaving Tokushima:
Rt55 is a very busy, three lane road. Although it is the fastest way to Onzan-ji, if you must visit that temple, it might be better to take rt212 along the river and skip it.

If you can cope with more elevation, you should instead throw Kakurin-ji in the mix. It is one of the most beautiful, but high altitude temples. The climb up is a beast though - I was dying on my fixie and questioning the whole tour. But it's a wonderful downhill.
Next up at the start of the ropeway up to Tairyu-ji/Sanroku station is a good restplace with some eateries.

After that I would recommend not cutting East for the coast/, but instead going South along the river/Wajiki line - much less traffic and very beautiful road. Then you can take just as nice Rt19 back to the coast, which gets you out at Hiwasa, marker 89 on your route.

Going down the coast was heaven when I did it in May, don't know about doing it in a winter night. One recommendation should you really be going down all the way to the cape, is to start riding up early on the little road just after the marker 98 on your map. Else you have to fight your way up some nasty switchbacks. There is a youth hostel on top close to #24, but it was booked when I came around. I stayed at an old, but very atmospheric minshuku at the Southernmost point, which I can also recommend.
Let me get out thing out of my system first ... you're one crazy lady! Honestly though, I had a grin from ear to ear reading about the night ride. I do like that idea.

I don't also know how to plan with other people :) I just go out solo most of the time, I'm not too slow, nor not too fast be with the big guns. Though since you're The Brain I'd gladly give you leeway in all the major decisions. I am, for all intents and purposes, just tagging along.

The night ride would definitely be cold. One caution, even if there is no forecast of snow if it is cold enough stagnant water on the road will likely freeze. Difficult to see those at night. If the night ride is on flat roads and at low enough altitude there shouldn't be any ice on the roads, so we just need to tackle the cold and the dark.

Let me get one thing clear though, visiting ALL of the 88 temples is NOT the goal of this tour? Am I correct in my assumption?
Kori, I would love to do more cycling in Kii (I've been there twice this year) and Shikoku. And your plan almost entirely fails to intersect with things I've done before. Sadly it would not be politic for me to bugger off over New Year.

For info: HF trip in Golden Week: video [part 1] [part 2] and photos.

Oh gosh that was a great trip. We were sooooo drunk.

--HF Mike--
Gunnar, thanks for the detailed advice!! Super appreciated.
Phil, I'd looked at that thread before but thank you for posting it again.
Rommel, by "crazy" you mean "brilliant" right?

Sadly, the calendar they have up in my school is not correct and I have to work the 28th. Boo. So the adventure begins a day later.:( I might be able to get off early. Maybe.
:) of course!

I just hit a snag myself. 12/28 is a no go, was also looking at an antiquated calendar and I need to be back in the office on 1/3.

Add 12/13:
Sorry, but I'm out of this tour. Enjoy your trip and stay safe Kori.
Just a quick update. If anyone would like to join or just stay at the same places and manage the in between separately, here's the current itinerary.

no stalkers:confused: unless I think you're cool, and then you aren't really a stalker anyway.
28th stay http://www.jalan.net/jalan/jweb/yado/YADL_374536.HTML
29th stay http://www.pref.nara.jp/nara_e/dd_aspx_menuid-1480.htm
30th business hotel in Tokushima, near the station... forget the name.
31st Super hotel in Kochi (arrive late, leave early, ride out before sunrise, maybe loop back for breakfast before heading across the mountains)
1st (not yet confirmed) http://www.hatinosu.net/house/archives/777.php
If it falls through I may continue around the island.
?? not quite sure where I'll go next
Should work on the 7th and 8th (though have been told that taking the 7th off would be ok. the 8th is non-negotiable, even though it's a Saturday. go figure.)

Surprisingly difficult to find a place that would let me pay for both the 31st and 1st but arrive on the morning of the 1st after riding through the night. Ah well, less extreme is probably not *such* a bad thing.

Is the Honshu coast between Hiroshima and Osaka at all worthwhile or just urban sprawl?
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